I applaud the United States Senate’s actions in amending the House of Representatives’ budget-reduction bill in order to restore the maximum annual Pell Grant award level of $5,550 for eligible college students. The Senate proposal also maintains funding for the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant program, which the House bill proposes eliminating.
Across the country, as states’ financial difficulties have forced deep cuts to universities’ operating budgets and tuition increases, Pell Grants are an increasingly critical resource for students. The Pell program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students, typically those from families earning less than $40,000 a year. More than half of our undergraduate student body received Pell Grant awards last year. For these and millions of students across the country, Pell grants are a key to professional and personal advancement, repaid many times over through future taxes resulting from higher incomes from graduates contributing their skills to our country's workforce.
As national calls for a more educated citizenry increase, supporting students who are pursuing a college education must be a national priority. I urge you to visit supportcuny.org to let your senators and representatives know of your strong support for federal financial aid and the Senate’s actions.